CENTR, the association of European national top-level domain name registries (ccTLDs) such as .ie or .eu, has published a comment on the geographical indications reform in the EU, expressing its concern for the potential implications of extending GI protection to domain names. CENTR welcomes the overall goal of revising the geographical indications (GI) legal framework in the EU to ensure the production of quality agricultural, craft and industrial products, but fears that the current proposal could have unwarranted consequences on the domain name system, and thus on the functioning of the essential internet infrastructure.
CENTR currently counts 52 full and 9 associate members – together, they are responsible for over 80% of all registered domain names worldwide. CENTR members are at the core of the public internet, safeguarding the stability and security of the internet as we know it today.
ccTLDs are responsible for operating and maintaining the technical Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure for their top-level domain. Commonly thought as the “phone book of the internet”, the DNS provides a navigation function to map user-friendly domain names to numeric IP addresses.
CENTR supports the recognition of GIs as a protected right in alternative resolution processes (ADR) but would like to underline that many ccTLDs already have well established and functioning ADR and judicial procedures in place to ensure that intellectual property rights online are protected.
In the absence of any proven issue regarding the effectiveness of existing IPR protection practices established within European registries, CENTR would like to point out that the creation of a domain name information and alert system, as suggested in the proposed reform, is not necessary and would only duplicate existing efforts. The protection of intellectual property rights needs to be balanced against other interests, including those of domain name holders, and thus CENTR asks that any reference towards a domain name information and alert system be omitted from the proposals.
Read the full comment here.
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